“Be rich in the things of God”

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE)

Talamban, Cebu City

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com

ONCE again, we are reminded in that gospel episode where a man asked Christ to arbitrate in his matter of inheritance with his brother (cfr. Lk 12,13-21) that we should be focused more on the things of God rather than on our earthly affairs.

Not that our earthly affairs are not important. They are, but only as a means or an occasion to lead us to God. Our usual problem is that we get trapped in the drama of our temporal affairs without referring them to what has eternal value, and that is, to be with God, to be like God. That is how we can be rich in the things of God.

We need to see to it that in our temporal affairs, even as we take care of their technical and other human and natural aspects and requirements, we should build up things like the virtues of honesty, integrity, patience, compassion, etc., because these are what would make us rich in what matters to God.

We have to have the good sense of living the basic social principles of the common good, subsidiarity and solidarity that would constitute the proper sense of responsibility for us. And we have to understand that by the common good, we mean God first before we think of any good for man.

To be rich in what matters to God is not so much a matter of how much wealth and possessions we have as it is of how much love we have for God which is always translated in our love for the others, expressed in deeds and not just in intentions.

We may be rich or poor in our worldly standards, but what should be pursued with extreme care and seriousness is that our heart gets filled with love for God and love for the others.

Yes, one can be rich materially—he can be a millionaire or a billionaire—but he should see to it that he fits the category of what one of the beatitudes regarded as “poor in spirit” because in spite of or even because of his great wealth, his heart is fully for God and for the others.

This, of course, will require tremendous struggle and constant purification and rectification of our intentions and ways, given the fact that we are always prone to get attached to the things of this world and to the ways of greed, envy and the like.

We have to continually check ourselves especially these days when we are bombarded with many tantalizing and intoxicating things that can capture our heart and remove God from it. It always pays to lead a very simple and austere life in spite of the great wealth that we may have.

And to be clear about this also: that the more wealth we have, the greater also would be our responsibility to show our love for God and others with deeds. The scope and range of that love should grow exponentially, so to speak.

We should be wary of our tendency to get complacent in this duty of living true Christian poverty and detachment. We really have to fight tooth and nail against this tendency because the likelihood for us to fall for this sweet poison of the new things today is high.

At the end of the day, we should be able to say that with our struggles and rectitude of intention, we are truly getting rich in what matters to God!